Abraham: faithless

Cover to Cover

Reading: Genesis 9:18-13:18

Focus: Genesis 12:10-20

Abraham, father of the Promise, man above men, good ol’ father Abraham… When we think of Abraham, we think of a man who left his family heritage, followed God’s call and lived a life of obedience. -cough- Quite the contrary, Abraham isn’t as great as we make him out to be. God had called Abram (before named Abraham later), “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” Such obedience is unquestionable, Abram obeyed the call of God and set out.

However, as Abram journeyed towards the land promised to him and his descendants, it is recorded for us that he headed down to Egypt because of a famine in the land. We find something peculiar just as he is about to enter Egypt:

As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

Shock horror! What happened to the obedience we saw when he followed God’s call to leave home and family? Was Abram following God blindly? We see Abram lose faith in God’s providence and instead reverts to his own human methods to preserve his life and prosperity. The thing that gets me is that Abram repeatedly does this over and over again.

So what happened to righteous, faithful father Abraham? I think it would be right for us to remember that Abraham, just as we are, was on a journey with God. It was not as though Abraham was full of faith from day one, how many of us are? Instead, what we have recorded here is a story of a man who journeyed with God, growing in his relationship with the Almighty, maturing in his faith with every test and experience, culminating in what we now picture—a man of obedience, faithfulness and righteousness.

It is stories such as Abraham’s failures which help us realise that our journey of struggles, temptations, failures are necessary and normal; however, these stories also remind us that God is greater than our human circumstance. We should be challenged, also, that this is not the life that we aim to live. Unlike Abraham, we seek to live a life of consistent obedience and trust in God. Be encouraged that we are on a journey with God; yes, we aim for perfection, but it is not immediate but something we work towards it, step by step, day by day.

Next Reading: Genesis 14:1-17:27